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ICC Men's World Cup Cricket League 2 began with a close contest between United Arab Emirates and United States of America with USA defeating the hosts by a narrow margin of three wickets. Their win has set the tournament up beautifully with five more matches to go. They'll be brimming with confidence when they take on Scotland in their upcoming contest and will be looking to replicate their performance. The two teams will lock horns on 9th December at Sharjah Cricket Ground, Sharjah. As was the case in the first match between the two sides, the surface is likely to be on the slower side and we expect a low-scoring encounter. Handling the pressure will be the key in the upcoming fixture.
United States of America went into the first match as underdogs, but announced themselves with a spectacular win over the hosts UAE. With this win, USA have climbed to the top of the ladder in ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2. They have eight points to their name with a net run-rate of 0.078 and will be looking to extend the gap with Scotland, who are at the second spot.
While their batsmen did well to chase the total down, it were their bowlers who laid the foundation of their win. Saurabh Netravalkar was superb from the beginning as he not only kept things tight but also kept picking up important wickets. While the likes of Taylor, Kenjige, and Juan Theron assisted him well, it was his spell that got USA in the driving seat. He returned with the impressive figures of 5 for 32 in 9.2 overs.
It was a smallish total that USA were chasing and a good start would have eased things for them. However, they lost a couple of quick wickets in just first three overs. Aaron Jones and Xavier Marshall combined to add 78 runs for the third wicket and brought them back in the game. Even though they kept losing wickets at the other end, Aaron Jones held one end and kept UAE at bay. With a nifty knock from Karima Gore, USA crawled over the line with three wickets in hand and a little under five overs to spare.
Monank Patel, Xavier Marshall, SR Taylor, Aaron Jones, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Karima Gore, C Stevenson, Rusty Theron, Saurabh Netravalkar, Nosthush Kenjige.
Scotland have arguably been the best side among non test-playing nations and will be looking to keep that up. They were leading the points table before USA's win over UAE in the first match of the series. They have six points to their name and their net run-rate of 0.556 is an evidence of how dominant they have been.
Kyle Coetzer, Ritchie Berrington, and Matthew Cross have been the top batsmen for Scotland since the beginning of 2019 and will be key to their fortunes in the upcoming contest. Scotland are well-versed in playing on fast wickets and it would be interesting to see how they adapt to the slow and low surface of Doha.
Scotland have a pretty good bowling lineup and their bowlers are likely to thrive on the surface. Hamza Tahir, who has picked up 10 wickets in his last three matches, likes bowling on these kind of surfaces. Tahir, along with Safyaan Sharif and Mark Watt, has been phenomenal for them and USA are not going to find it easy to face this in-form Scotland side.
Kyle Coetzer, Matthew Cross, George Munsey, Michael Jones, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Dylan Budge, Safyaan Sharif, MRJ Watt, Alasdair Evans, Hamza Tahir.
Not many would have expected USA to come out on top in the first match of the series. They'll be looking to take the confidence earned from the first match and perform on the similar lines in the second match. They do not have much time to ponder upon and fix the vulnerabilites they showed in the first match. Scotland, on the other hand, have done pretty well in recent times and will be fresh coming into the next match. Comparing the two sides on paper, Scotland are a better unit, and are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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